The Parson and the Prelate by Creeve Roe (Victor Daley)

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I saw a Parson on a bike --
   A parody on things --
His coat-tails flapped behind him like
   A pair of caudal wings.

His coat was of a shiny green,
   His hat was rusty brown;
He was a weird, wild sight, I ween,
   Careering through the town.

What perched him on a wheel at all,
  And made him race and rip?
Had he, perchance, a sudden call
   To some rich rectorship?

He'd no such call; he raced and ran
   To kneel and pray beside
The bedside of a dying man,
   Who poor as Peter died.

I saw a Prelate, plump and fine,
   Who gleamed with sanctity;
He was the finest-groomed divine
   That you could wish to see.

His smile was bland; his air was grand;
   His coat was black, and shone
As did the tents of Kedar and
   The robes of Solomon.

And in a carriage fine and fair
   He lounged in lordly ease --
It was a carriage and a pair --
   And nursed his gaitered knees.

And whither went he, and what for,
   With all this pomp and show?
He went to see the Governor,
   And that is all I know.

But in a vision of the night,
   When deep dreams come to men,
I saw a strange and curious sight --
   The Prelate once again.

He sat ungaitered, and undone,
   A picture of dismay --
His carriage was too broad to run
   Along the Narrow Way!

But, with his coat-tails flapping like
   Black caudal wings in wrath,
I saw the Parson on the bike
   Sprint up the Shining Path.

First published in The Bulletin, 5 May 1904;
and later in
The Penguin Book of Australian Humorous Verse edited by Bill Scott, 1984;
Anthology of Australian Religious Verse edited by Les Murray, 1986;
An Australian Treasury of Popular Verse edited by Jim Haynes, 2002; and
Two Centuries of Australian Poetry edited by Kathrine Bell, 2007.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 5, 2011 7:53 AM.

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